Art: Vincent by Candlelight

On the outskirts of Paris one day in 1946, Reeves Lewenthal, a wide-awake young U.S. art dealer, stopped his car, got out and ruefully inspected a flat tire. It was a blowout all right and he had no spare. Then, as Lewenthal retells it, he made for a shadowy little bistro, telephoned a garage and ordered a bite to eat. A few age-stained canvases were hung about the walls. One even had a hole in it. Lewenthal flicked on his cigarette lighter and looked more closely at the grimy thing. He almost jumped out of his skin.

This week in Beverly Hills,...

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